Peter Waterfield’s Diving Strength Workout

Peter Waterfield's diving strength workout
(Image credit: Unknown)

"When you dive off a 10m platform you hit the water at 40mph [65km/h] and your shoulders take most of the impact," says British diver and Olympic silver medallist Peter Waterfield. "If you're weak in any part of your upper body, particularly your shoulders and arms, you can wrench them when you hit the water and hurt yourself. The moves below will help you develop the strength you need to avoid injury."

Once you’ve mastered these moves, graduate to this upper-body workout plan.

Upper-Body Strength Workout

Push press

Sets 5  Reps 6

  • Start with the bar resting on the front of your shoulders with your elbows pointing forwards.
  • From a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, drop into a squat.
  • Straighten up, using leg power to help you raise the bar overhead.

Waterfield says: "This is a good move for developing shoulder strength. Using the push lets you do it dynamically so you get a bit of impact at the top, which prepares you for when you enter the water."

Bent-over row

Sets 3  Reps 10

  • Lean forward at the hips, keep your back straight and let the dumbbells hang straight down.
  • Keeping your torso steady, pull the dumbbells up to either side of your pecs, then lower slowly to the start.

Waterfield says: "When you're in the tuck position it's really important to squeeze into a compact shape – not only does it look better, it will also help you spin quicker. This move helps you pull your legs into your body."


Sets 2  Reps 10-15

  • Grip the dip bars with your body upright.
  • Lower slowly, making sure that your elbows point back.
  • Go as low as is comfortable, then push back up powerfully.

Waterfield says: "This develops triceps strength, which is important because you need to be able to lock your arms on entry. If you hit the water with bent arms you can tear your triceps."

More on diving 

  • Matty Lee, world silver medallist and Tom Daley’s synchronised partner, shares his mid-season gym workout for diving
  • This Tom Daley interview is all about training, risk taking and how experience can give you the edge
Jon Lipsey

Jon Lipsey worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Jon was deputy editor and editor from 2007 to 2013. He returned as editor-in-chief from 2016 to 2019. He also co-founded IronLife Media and the New Body Plan